Our new home came equipped with a doe and her spotted fawn. We call them “Darma Deer and her deerling.” As in Little Rock, I put corn and apples out for deer because I enjoy watching them. With despair, but not surprise, I noticed that a tree-rat, aka squirrel, had discovered my largess.
I’ve struggled to keep squirrels out of my fruit trees, gardens, and bird feeders for decades. A problem with squirrels is that they not only eat, they also “squirrel.” That is, they cache or bury food for possible future use. I’ve imagined a hidden mound of apples and corn growing daily. Although always living in the country, we’ve relocated many squirrels, wood rats, and non-venomous snakes further in the country. The challenge is getting little blindfolds on the varmints so they can’t find their way home.
But our Washington thief is no ordinary squirrel. I’ve never seen one so obese. Its arms seem short protruding from folds of fat. And large! Our squirrel can carry a whole apple away. This squirrel looks like its rodent-relative the woodchuck. I laugh every day watching he or she pig out, measuring life not by days but by the amount of food consumed.
A reliable laugh in these difficult times is worth a lot. I’ve decided to keep our bushy tailed pig. “I’m trying to feed it to death,” I assure Kit. My prayer is that you can find sources of amusement that cost no more than a handful of corn.